In fact, evidence suggests that the amount of alcohol that you drink over time could have an impact on your cancer risk. At this point, it’s not completely understood exactly how alcohol plays a role in the development of cancer, but researchers have suggested that consuming higher amounts of alcohol might increase your risk.
Here are a few things that we know about alcohol and health:
Alcohol Depletes Certain Nutrients... Cancer risk might go up when there are nutrient deficiencies within the body, and it has been found that alcohol consumption depletes specific nutrients, including: magnesium, zinc, and B-complex vitamins. Heavy drinkers have a problem with folate levels, because the alcohol reduces the body’s ability to absorb folate from food sources.
Many people don’t get enough folate in their diet. Alcohol consumption makes this problem worse by preventing the body from absorbing the folate that is available. Low folate levels have been linked with an increase in colon and breast cancers, so it is important that you reduce your alcohol consumption and eat more foods that are a good source of folate.
Chronic Inflammation from Alcohol... Alcohol can act as an irritant within the body, which can lead to chronic inflammation for some people. When the alcohol irritates the cells, especially in the throat and mouth, those cells are damaged. As the cells work to repair themselves, it is possible that DNA changes might occur which could eventually lead to cancer. This inflammatory response can occur anywhere in the body.
Drinking too much alcohol can also cause inflammation in the liver, and this damage can have a domino effect on other aspects of health.
Disrupted Hormone Levels... Alcohol consumption might play a role in hormone levels, because the alcohol might cause the levels of estrogen to increase within the body. Estrogen plays a direct impact on the development of breast tissue, which can have a domino effect on the development of breast cancer.
If you want to reduce your risk of cancer, then it is best to limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages. Are you interested in learning about other lifestyle factors that impact your risk of cancer? Contact a Certified Professional Cancer Coach to learn how to reduce your risks.
Lynn Thier, RHN, Certified Cancer Coach.